America and the Black Body: Identity Politics in Print and Visual Culture

America and the Black Body: Identity Politics in Print and Visual Culture

America and the Black Body: Identity Politics in Print and Visual Culture

America and the Black Body: Identity Politics in Print and Visual Culture

Synopsis

It is difficult to be sure of how or when, but there is no question that the superficial and metaphoric difference between various groups of human beings adversely affected the ideological figurations of "race" in the Americas. As we now know, "race" has never been a fixed concept, but an ever-evolving idea intimately connected to the social, moral, and biological landscape of American society. It is the latter--the biological landscape of America--that anchors this collection. In particular this collection investigates the ways in which America, through its literary, scientific, social, and legal cultures, sought to "define" itself through the black body, and how these racial imaginings reveal the tenuous ties that connect American identity to these ideals. These representations are multifaceted: from the phenomenological depictions of the body vis-a-vis inanimate objects, to the material/cultural artifacts that seek to re-present the black body in public spaces vis-a-vis the literary marketplace and the court room. Authors examined include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Derrick Bell, William Dean Howells, Toni Morrison, Jesse Fauset, Kate Chopin, and Danzy Senna. Carol E. Henderson is Associate Director of Black American Studies and Associate Professor of English and Black American Studies at the University of Delaware.

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